The Difference Between a Resume and a CV (Curriculum Vitae)

What is the difference between a resume and a CV? Is a Curriculum Vitae (CV) better? When should you use a Resume? Is resume just another word for CV, and vice versa? Although both can be used in job applications, these two are different and should not be interchangeable. In this article, we will cover what you need to know about resumes and curriculum vitae.

Resume vs. CV. What is the difference?

When should you use a resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)? Before we dig deeper, let us first learn their definition. 

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin word that means “course of life,” often shortened to CV or “life” in Latin. On the other hand, resume (résumé) is a French word meaning “summary” or “to sum up.”

With the definitions given, we already have an understanding of the length of a resume and CV. A resume is a summary. Therefore, it should be short and be presented with key facts of your professional experiences. A curriculum vitae is a longer document because it details the whole course of your professional career.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) 

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

Curriculum vitae is usually two to three pages long and can sometimes reach over three pages when necessary. This contains detailed information about your education, professional career, accomplishments, publications, and awards. In the United States and Canada, the CV is used for academic applications, research fellowship, scientific research, grants, and medical fields. You can create your own CV from scratch or you may use a free CV maker for convenience.

Some organizations prefer credential-based applications that will provide a comprehensive list of one’s education and professional background. Entry-level candidates can use a CV since they don’t have anything (much) to put in their professional or work experiences. Bear in mind that even if you have no work experience, you enhance your CV by including volunteering experiences, listing any certifications or training programs, highlighting your skills and strengths, and tailoring your CV to the job you’re applying to.

How a Curriculum Vitae (CV) Works

Now that you know what a CV is, let’s get down the information you should include.  

1. Name, Professional title, Address and Contact Details

There is no need for you to put “Curriculum Vitae” on top or as your header. This is not necessary. Your CV should begin with your basic personal information. Your name should be the first thing the hiring manager will see in the document. You do not need to include your middle name—your first and last name is enough.

Write your professional title below your name and your contact details, such as your phone number, email address, professional website (if available), and LinkedIn profile.  For your address, you do not need to write your complete address. What only matters are your town and county of residence. Adding a photo is not a general practice in a CV unless the employer asked for it. 

2. Personal Profile, Professional Statement, or Objective

Your personal profile is your professional statement and career objective. This is the part where you need to make a good impression and prove to the employer why you are a good fit for the position or company. 

How do you write an engaging personal profile? By referring to a CV example, you can gain insights into effective strategies for showcasing your skills, experience, and unique qualifications. Tailor the skills and knowledge you will highlight that are pertinent to the job or the degree. Specifying the years you have been in the industry, or your relevant experience is also useful. Lastly, leave a lasting impression by including your goal and plans if you get accepted and how you will contribute to the company. 

3. Comprehensive List of Your Skills, Relevant Work Experience, and Key Achievements

The skills, work experience, and achievements that you will include in your CV should be relevant to the job you are trying to land. You want to show off your expertise to the employer immediately. You can include between five and ten hard skills and applicable soft skills on your CV, 10 is the ideal number.

There are different approaches you can take in writing relevant work experiences, but the most effective way you are going to execute this is by focusing on measurable achievements. Using active language will make your work experience section focus on how you accomplished your achievements and show responsibilities in a role.

You can list a maximum of fifteen years’ worth of previous work experiences in reverse-chronological order. The most recent one should contain the most details. And as the job goes older, the fewer features you will need to provide.

4. Publications and Presentations

This section should follow the formatting rules for your file. Some use APA-style formatting. This section is used to document your professional presentations, including conferences and workshops you delivered. Add the title, date, and venue where you presented. You can also add publications you have co-authored, your co-authors, date, summary, volume, page, etc. 

5. Professional Affiliations

The professional affiliations section in your CV is a list of your membership in professional organizations, clubs, or groups that you are sharing an interest in a specific job field or industry.

6. Licenses and Certifications

Licenses and certifications are the proven credentials that you have acquired and developed skills and knowledge required to perform a certain duty or job. It boosts your credibility and reliability that you will perform well in the job.


What is a Resume?

The purpose of a resume is to provide the employer a brief overview of your work history. Since it should only be one to two pages long, you should only include a few of the important information and customize it according to the requirement in the job post. Utilizing a resume builder can save time and offer convenience. You can also download free Word resume templates that will make creating a resume easier.

How a Resume Works

The information that you will include in a resume is the same as a CV. You also have to make sure that you highlight your work experiences, skills, education, achievements, etc. However, in a resume, you could only just include the information you will highlight that relates directly to the job you’re applying for. You can apply these two tips.

1. Choose the Right Format for Your Needs

There are four common resume formats: Chronological, Functional, Combination, and Targeted.

Chronological style lists your work history in reverse chronological order, where your most recent job is listed on top, prioritizing the most relevant professional experience, followed by your previous ones below.

The functional style focuses on professional skills and experience rather than the chronological work history.

The combination style emphasizes your best skills, experiences, and accomplishments at the top of the resume and lists your work history in chronological (or reverse chronological) order.

Targeted style highlights your skills, experiences, and accomplishments relevant to a particular position.

2. Don’t put everything in your resume

Resumes should be only one to two pages long. This is so that it is easier to read, and hiring managers can easily find the work experience and skills that match their requirements. Omit irrelevant skills and experiences to keep your resume short.

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